books-set-in-scotland
Books, Europe, Scotland

Books Set In Scotland: Scottish Novels

Did you know that Scotland’s capital Edinburgh was the first UNESCO City of Literature in the world? Edinburgh also hosts the world’s largest International Book Festival every year. Scotland even has a national book town. With population of around a thousand locals, Wigtown has a high concentration of second-hand book shops and book-related businesses.

It’s no surprise then, that Scotland has loads of literature to offer. The following list features books in chronological order, including bestsellers such as Sunset SongThe Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Docherty. There are a number of titles by distinguished Scottish authors such as Iain Banks, Ian Rankin, Irvine Welsh and Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve included the first novel from the series Outlander, which well and truly has a cult following. And finally the list ends with a novel set in Wigtown itself, The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, owner of Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop.

I hope you enjoy these books set in Scotland; if you have any additions, please let me know in the comments below!

Books Set In Scotland

Books Set In Scotland - Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

1.
Kidnapped (David Balfour 1/2)
by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886

As he sets off into the world to seek his last remaining kinsman, Uncle Ebenezer, young David Balfour has no idea of the hazards and intrigues that the encounter will bring. He finds his uncle to be a decrepit, miserly man, and soon realizes that Ebenezer is also a liar. But before he can fathom his machinations, David is tricked into boarding the brig Covenant, and bound for slavery in distant Carolina…

Overcoming the perils of sea and the turbulent fortunes that befall him after he is shipwrecked – including a charge of murder – David ultimately emerges triumphant to claim his rightful heritage.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

2.
Sunset Song (A Scots Quair 1/3)
by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, 1932

Sunset Song is the first and most celebrated of Grassic Gibbon’s great trilogy, A Scot’s Quair. It provides a powerful description of the first two decades of the century through the evocation of change and the lyrical intensity of its prose. It is hard to find any other Scottish novel of the last century which has received wider acclaim and better epitomises the feelings of a nation.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

3.
Whisky Galore
by Compton Mackenzie, 1947

It’s 1943 and the war has brought rationing to the Hebridean islands of Great and Little Todday. When food is in short supply, it is bad enough, but when the whisky runs out, it looks like the end of the world.

Morale is at rock bottom. George Campbell needs a wee dram to give him the courage to stand up to his mother and marry Catriona. The priest, the doctor and, of course, the landlord at the inn are all having a very thin time of it. There’s no conversation, no jollity, no fun – until a shipwreck off the coast brings a piece of extraordinary good fortune…

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Changeling by Robin Jenkins. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

4.
The Changeling
by Robin Jenkins, 1958

Thirteen-year-old Tom Curdie, the product of a Glasgow slum, is on probation for theft. His teachers admit that he is clever, but only one, Charles Forbes, sees an uncanny warmth in his reticence and in his seemingly insolent smile—so he decides to take Tom on holiday with his own family. This powerful novel explores one of Jenkins’s consistent and most fruitful themes—how goodness and innocence are compromised when faced with the pressures of growing up and becoming part of society.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

5.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
by Muriel Spark, 1961

At the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods and strives to bring out the best in each one of her students. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises them, “Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me.” And they do–but one of them will betray her.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

6.
Mary Queen of Scots
by Antonia Fraser, 1969

She was the quintessential queen: statuesque, regal, dazzlingly beautiful. Her royal birth gave her claim to the thrones of two nations; her marriage to the young French dauphin promised to place a third glorious crown on her noble head.

Instead, Mary Stuart became the victim of her own impulsive heart, scandalizing her world with a foolish passion that would lead to abduction, rape and even murder. Betrayed by those she most trusted, she would be lured into a deadly game of power, only to lose to her envious and unforgiving cousin, Elizabeth I.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Docherty by William McIlvanney. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

7.
Docherty
by William McIlvanney, 1975

His face made a fist at the world. The twined remnant of umbilicus projected vulnerably. Hands, feet and prick. He had come equipped for the job. Newborn Conn Docherty, raw as a fresh wound, lies between his parents in their tenement room, with no birthright but a life’s labour in the pits of his small town. But the world is changing, and, lying next to him, Conn’s father Tam has decided that his son’s life will be different from his own. Gritty, dark and tender, McIlvanney’s Docherty is a modern classic.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Lanark by Alasdair Gray. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

8.
Lanark
by Alasdair Gray, 1981

This work, originally published in 1981, has been hailed as the most influential Scottish novel of the second half of the 20th century. Its playful narrative techniques convey a profound message, personal and political, about humankind’s inability to love and yet our compulsion to go on trying.

 

Books Set In Scotland - A Dark and Distant Shore by Reay Tannahill. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

9.
A Dark and Distant Shore
by Reay Tannahill, 1983

Reay Tannahill’s great bestseller is the story of an extraordinary woman’s determination to win back her birthright – the remote and beautiful West Highland castle of Kinveil – sold by her father to a Glasgow merchant when she was seven years old.

It is also the intricate picture of a family in the heyday of the British Empire, an epic story spanning almost a hundred years and stretching from Edinburgh to the Crimea, from an expanding America to the India of the Raj.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

10.
The Wasp Factory
by Iain Banks, 1984

Meet Frank Cauldhame. Just sixteen, and unconventional to say the least: Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That’s my score to date. Three. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Bridge by Iain Banks. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

11.
The Bridge
by Iain Banks, 1986

A darkly brilliant novel of self-discovery the cutting edge of experimental fiction. It leads from nowhere to nowhere, the mysterious world-spanning structure on which everyone seems to live. Rescued from the sea, devoid of personality or memory, all John Orr knows is the Bridge, his persistent dreams of war, and his desire for Chief Engineer Arrol’s provocative daughter, Abberlaine.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

12.
Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus 1/21)
by Ian Rankin, 1987

Detective John Rebus: His city is being terrorized by a baffling series of murders…and he’s tied to a maniac by an invisible knot of blood. Once John Rebus served in Britain’s elite SAS. Now he’s an Edinburgh cop who hides from his memories, misses promotions and ignores a series of crank letters. But as the ghoulish killings mount and the tabloid headlines scream, Rebus cannot stop the feverish shrieks from within his own mind. Because he isn’t just one cop trying to catch a killer, he’s the man who’s got all the pieces to the puzzle…

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Trick is to Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

13.
The Trick is to Keep Breathing
by Janice Galloway, 1989

Janice Galloway’s inventive first novel is about the breakdown of a 27-year-old drama teacher named Joy Stone. The problems of everyday living accumulate and begin to torture Joy, who blames her problems not on her work or on the accidental drowning of her illicit lover, but on herself. While painful and deeply serious, this is a novel of great warmth and energy: it’s the wit and irony found in moments of despair that prove to be Joy’s salvation.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

14.
Outlander (Outlander 1/9)
by Diana Gabaldon, 1991

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord… 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

 

Books Set In Scotland - A Good Hanging: Short Stories by Ian Rankin. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

15.
A Good Hanging: Short Stories (Inspector Rebus)
by Ian Rankin, 1992

Twelve remarkable, gritty stories starring Detective Inspector John Rebus in his home city of Edinburgh, as only Ian Rankin can portray it: not just the tearooms and cobbled streets of the tourist brochures, but a modern urban metropolis with a full range of criminals and their victims – blackmailers, peeping Toms, and more than one kind of murderer. It’s a city like any other, a city that gives birth to crimes of passion, accidents, and long-hidden jealousy, and a city in which criminal minds find it all too easy to fade into the shadows. As dedicated readers of the series well know, nobody is better equipped to delve into Edinburgh’s back alleys and smoky pubs than Rebus, and no one better able to illuminate his world than Ian Rankin.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

16.
Trainspotting (Mark Renton 2/4)
by Irvine Welsh, 1993

Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye’ve produced. Choose life.

 

Books Set In South Africa - Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. south african books, books about south africa, south africa inspiration, south africa travel, novels set in south africa, south african novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, south africa

17.
Marabou Stork Nightmares
by Irvine Welsh, 1995

The acclaimed author, Irvine Welsh has been hailed as “the best thing that has happened to British writing in a decade”. This audacious novel is a brilliant (and literal) head trip of a book that brings us into the wildly active, albeit coma-beset, mind of Roy Strang, whose hallucinatory quest to eradicate the evil predator/scavenger marabou stork keeps being interrupted by grisly memories of the social and family dysfunction that brought him to this state. It is the sort of lethally funny cocktail of pathos, violence, and outrageous hilarity that only Irvine Welsh can pull off.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Morvern Callar by Alan Warner. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

18.
Morvern Callar
by Alan Warner, 1995

Morvern Callar, a low-paid employee in the local supermarket in a desolate and beautiful port town in the west of Scotland, wakes one morning in late December to find her strange boyfriend has committed suicide and is dead on the kitchen floor. Morvern’s reaction is both intriguing and immoral. What she does next is even more appalling. Moving across a blurred European landscape-from rural poverty and drunken mayhem of the port to the Mediterranean rave scene-we experience everything from Morvern’s stark, unflinching perspective.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Black and Blue by Ian Rankin. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

19.
Black and Blue (Inspector Rebus 8/21)
by Ian Rankin, 1997

Bible John killed three women, and took three souvenirs. Johnny Bible killed to steal his namesake’s glory. Oilman Allan Mitchelson died for his principles. And convict Lenny Spaven died just to prove a point. “Bible John” terrorized Glasgow in the sixties and seventies, murdering three women he met in a local ballroom–and he was never caught. Now a copycat is at work. Nicknamed “Bible Johnny” by the media, he is a new menace with violent ambitions.

 

Books Set In Scotland - One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night by Christopher Brookmyre. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

20.
One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night
by Christopher Brookmyre, 1999

The occasion: high school reunion. The place: an oil rig converted into a tourist resort. The outcome: carnage.

Gavin is creating a unique ‘holiday experience’; every facility any tourist who hates abroad will ever want will all be available on a converted North Sea oil rig. To test the facilities he’s hosting a reunion for his old school (none of his ex-classmates can remember him, but what the heck, it’s free). He is so busy showing off that he doesn’t notice that another group have invited themselves along – a collection of terrorist mercenaries who are occasionally of more danger to themselves than to the public.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Under the Skin by Michel Faber. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

21.
Under the Skin
by Michel Faber, 2000

In this haunting, entrancing novel, Michel Faber introduces us to Isserley, a female driver who cruises the Scottish Highlands picking up hitchhikers. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, she listens to her hitchhikers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them if they should disappear. A grotesque and comical allegory, Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory – our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion — to present a surreal representation of contemporary society run amok.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

22.
The Cutting Room
by Louise Welsh, 2002

When Rilke, a dissolute and promiscuous auctioneer, comes across a collection of highly disturbing photographs during a house clearance he feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them.

Driven to discover whether the images represent a real event or a fantasy, Rilke is drawn into a nether world of illicit urges and powerful obsessions. A compulsive journey of discovery, decadence and deviousness follows.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Buddha Da by Anne Donovan. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

23.
Buddha Da
by Anne Donovan, 2003

Anne Marie’s dad, a Glaswegian painter and decorator, has always been game for a laugh. So when he first takes up meditation at the Buddhist Center, no one takes him seriously. But as Jimmy becomes more involved in a search for the spiritual, his beliefs start to come into conflict with the needs of his wife, Liz. Cracks appear in their apparently happy family life, and the ensuing events change the lives of each family member.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

24.
The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie 1/11)
by Alexander McCall Smith, 2004

Filled with thorny characters and a Scottish atmosphere as thick as a highland mist, The Sunday Philosophy Club is irresistible, and Isabel Dalhousie is the most delightful literary sleuth since Precious Ramotswe.

Isabel is fond of problems, and sometimes she becomes interested in problems that are, quite frankly, none of her business. This may be the case when Isabel sees a young man plunge to his death from the upper circle of a concert hall in Edinburgh. Despite the advice of her housekeeper, Grace, who has been raised in the values of traditional Edinburgh, and her niece, Cat, who, if you ask Isabel, is dating the wrong man, Isabel is determined to find the truth–if indeed there is one–behind the man’s death. The resulting moral labyrinth might have stymied even Kant. And then there is the unsatisfactory turn of events in Cat’s love life that must be attended to.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

25.
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (Isabel Dalhousie 2/11)
by Alexander McCall Smith, 2005

Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective. Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small.

In this delightful second installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling new detective series, the irrepressibly curious Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, gets caught up in an affair of the heart–this one a transplant.

When Isabel’s niece, Cat, asks Isabel to run her delicatessen while she attends a wedding in Italy, Isabel meets a man with a most interesting problem. He recently had a heart transplant and is suddenly plagued with memories of events that never happened to him. The situation appeals to Isabel as a philosophical question: Is the heart truly the seat of the soul? And it piques her insatiable curiosity: Could the memories be connected with the donor’s demise? Of course, Grace–Isabel’s no-nonsense housekeeper–and Isabel’s friend Jamie think it is none of Isabel’s business. Meanwhile, Cat brings home an Italian lothario, who, in accordance with all that Isabel knows about Italian lotharios, shouldn’t be trusted… but, goodness, he is charming.

That makes two mysteries of the heart to be solved–just the thing for Isabel Dalhousie.

 

Books Set In Scotland - 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

26.
44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street 1/12)
by Alexander McCall Smith, 2005

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.  

Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh’s most colorful characters. There’s Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother’s desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian–all at the tender age of five.

 

 

Books Set In Scotland - Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

27.
Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street 2/12)
by Alexander McCall Smith, 2005

Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor. McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather.

Full of McCall Smith’s gentle humor and sympathy for his characters, Espresso Tales is also an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author’s own words, “make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world.”

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Observations by Jane Harris. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

28.
The Observations
by Jane Harris, 2006

A powerful story of secrets and suspicions, hidden histories and mysterious disappearances set in Victorian Scotland.

Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her not-so-innocent past in Glasgow, Bessy Buckley—a wide-eyed and feisty young Irish girl—takes a job as a maid in a big house outside Edinburgh working for the beautiful Arabella—the “missus.” Bessy lacks the necessary scullery skills for her new position, but as she finds out, it is her ability to read and write that makes her such a desirable property. Bessy is intrigued by her new employer but puzzled by her increasingly strange requests and her insistence that Bessy keep a journal of her mundane chores and most intimate thoughts. And it seems that the missus has a few secrets of her own, including her near- obsessive affection for Nora, a former maid who died in mysterious circumstances.

 

Books Set In Scotland - One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

29.
One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie 2/4)
by Kate Atkinson, 2006

Two years after the events of Case Histories left him a retired millionaire, Jackson Brodie has followed Julia, his occasional girlfriend and former client, to Edinburgh for its famous summer arts festival. But when he witnesses a man being brutally attacked in a traffic jam – the apparent victim of an extreme case of road rage – a chain of events is set in motion that will pull the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a timid but successful crime novelist, and a hardheaded female police detective into Jackson’s orbit. Suddenly out of retirement, Jackson is once again in the midst of several mysteries that intersect in one giant and sinister scheme.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

30.
Girl Meets Boy
by Ali Smith, 2007

Girl meets boy. It’s a story as old as time. But what happens when an old story meets a brand new set of circumstances?

Ali Smith’s re-mix of Ovid’s most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can’t be bottled and sold. It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations. Funny and fresh, poetic and political, Girl Meets Boy is a myth of metamorphosis for the modern world.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Gillespie and I by Jane Harris. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

31.
Gillespie and I
by Jane Harris, 2011

As she sits in her Bloomsbury home, with her two birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter sets out to relate the story of her acquaintance, nearly four decades previously, with Ned Gillespie, a talented artist who never achieved the fame she maintains he deserved.

Back in 1888, the young, art-loving, Harriet arrives in Glasgow at the time of the International Exhibition. After a chance encounter she befriends the Gillespie family and soon becomes a fixture in all of their lives. But when tragedy strikes – leading to a notorious criminal trial – the promise and certainties of this world all too rapidly disorientate into mystery and deception.

Featuring a memorable cast of characters, infused with atmosphere and period detail, and shot through with wicked humour, Gillespie and I is a tour de force from one of the emerging names of British fiction.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

32.
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle
by Kirsty Wark, 2014

Elizabeth Pringle has lived on the beautiful island of Arran for over 90 years; the retired teacher and spinster is a familiar and yet solitary figure tending her garden and riding her bicycle around the island. When she dies she leaves her beloved house, “Holmlea” to a woman she merely saw pushing a pram down the road over thirty years ago. That young mother, Anna, had put a letter through Elizabeth’s door asking to buy the house, but Elizabeth never pursued her. But time passed and Anna is now in a home with dementia and it falls to her daughter Martha, the baby in the pram, to come and take up their inheritance.

 

Books Set In Scotland - His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

33.
His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae
by Graeme Macrae Burnet, 2015

In 1869, a brutal triple murder in the remote Wester Ross village of Culduie leads to the arrest of a seventeen-year-old crofter, Roderick Macrae. There is no question of Macrae’s guilt, but it falls to the country’s most eminent legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to his bloody deeds. Ultimately, the young man’s fate hinges on one key question: is he insane?

The story ingeniously unfolds through a series of found documents, including police statements; the accused’s prison memoir; the account of renowned psychiatrist, J. Bruce Thomson; and a report of the trial, compiled from contemporary newspapers.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

34.
The Sunlight Pilgrims
by Jenni Fagan, 2016

It’s November of 2020, and the world is freezing over, each day colder than the last. There’s snow in Israel; the Thames is overflowing; and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to drift just off the coast of Scotland. As ice water melts into the Atlantic, frenzied London residents evacuate by the thousands for warmer temperatures down south–but not Dylan. Grieving and ready to build life anew, he heads north to bury his mother’s and grandmother’s ashes on the Scottish islands where they once lived.

Hundreds of miles away, twelve-year-old Estella and her survivalist mother, Constance, scrape by in the snowy, mountainous Highlands, preparing for a record-breaking winter. Living out of a caravan, they spend their days digging through landfills, searching for anything with restorative and trading value. When Dylan arrives in their caravan park in the middle of the night, life changes course for Estella and Constance. Though the weather worsens, his presence brings a new light to daily life, and when the ultimate disaster finally strikes, they’ll all be ready.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

35.
The Wages of Sin (Sarah Gilchrist 1/2)
by Kaite Welsh, 2017

Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh’s medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and—perhaps worst of all—her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.

 

Books Set In Scotland - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

36.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman, 2017

Smart, warm, uplifting, the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open her heart.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner.

 

Books Set In Scotland - The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. For more books that inspire travel visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. scottish books, books about scotland, scotland inspiration, scotland travel, novels set in scotland, scottish novels, scotland novels, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, scotland, scottish books, scotland packing list, scotland vacation, scotland books novels

37.
The Diary of a Bookseller
by Shaun Bythell, 2017

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost … In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

 

What do you think of these books set in Scotland?

Have a great book recommendation I’ve missed? Are you planning a trip to Scotland soon? I’d love to hear about more about your travels and tips for books set in Scotland in the comments below!

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2 Comments

  • Reply Abie February 17, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Hi,
    Re: Scotland
    I would like to mention the Peter May Chessmen trilogy set in Lewis, and also any of the brilliant books by Denise Mina. She very often gets missed off lists, but is easily one of the best contemporary writers.
    Well worth reading.

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away February 17, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Abie, thanks so much for your comment! These are some great recommendations; I wasn’t familiar with either of these authors, so thanks for sharing them 🙂

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